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Palm Pre Review

Palm Pre 9.9

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webOS is a revolution.  Many will look at is as an evolution of Mobile OSX, and it does a great job of picking up where Apple left off, but the thing is Apple left off so short and Palm filled in so much that it is a wholly new experience.  While it may not be quite as intuitive as Mobile OSX out of the box, after a few minutes of exploring we felt perfectly comfortable with it and webOS undoubtedly allows both the user and developer to go deeper.  It is all about connectivity, and Palm hits the nail on the head.

Home screen - Palm Pre Review
Launcher - Palm Pre Review

Home screen


First off, when you touch the screen there is a very cool ripple effect.  It’s small enough to be noticeable but not intrusive, which will become a theme of webOS.  Of course it also lets you know where you’re touching, which turns out to be very useful.  The bottom of the home screen has a five icon launcher.  The far left is phone, the far right is menu and the middle three can be customized by holding an icon and dragging it in/out of the launcher.  The launcher disappears when you enter an application, but can be pulled up within that app simply by sliding your finger from the button up the screen.  This is incredibly functional, and while the wave effect it gives in this mode may just be eye candy, but it’s very cool eye candy.

webOS is full of gestures like this, most of which are very intuitive.  Some are familiar, such as swiping the screen to switch between pages and pictures, others are new such as use of the gesture area.  In this are the user can flick back and forth to move between web pages, or simply to take a step back.  Gestures make the Pre very easy to use and the gesture area below the screen makes the Pre unique.

To nitpick for a second, when launching an application there is a very slight lag, about a second, before it actually opens.  It is noticeable if you’re impatient, but in our opinion it’s perfectly acceptable.  The iPhone is no different in this regard, so again we’re just nitpicking here.  When closing certain cards there is sometimes a very slight delay as well, but not always.  We have a feeling this is because data is saved automatically when you close the card.  Everything else on the Pre is virtually instant; animations are smooth and menu transitions are nearly flawless.

By now you’ve no doubt heard about Synergy, Palm’s solution to your cluttered assortment of personal data.  Palm has taken a new approach to contact management, and in fact there is no desktop sync for webOS.  On first use the user will be able to import data from Outlook, Palm Desktop and iCal, but after that it is all in the cloud.  It doesn’t stop there though, the user can also import data wirelessly from Gmail and Facebook, and in the future any other service that takes advantage of this.  This data is added throughout the device as well, for instance adding a Gmail email account also adds your Gmail contacts, Google calendar and GTalk.   Again, very cool.  For those looking for a traditional desktop experience PocketMirror and Mark/Space are available in the App Catalog.

Palm Pre Review
Palm Pre Review
Palm Pre Review
Palm Pre Review
Palm Pre Review

Activity cards on Palm Pre - Palm Pre Review

Activity cards on Palm Pre

Another major feature of webOS is activity cards, which is how it handles multi-tasking.  Multi-tasking isn’t new in the mobile space, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry OS have been doing it for years, but it is a glaring drawback of Mobile OSX.   The way Palm handles them is unique however; instead of a traditional task manager applications are minimized into a card view, where the user can flip through them to quickly switch apps.  They are easily closed by swiping them up and off of the screen, a move that is strangely satisfying.  The TI OMAP 3430 processor shines here, and unlike WinMo and even BlackBerry, where too many apps bog the phone down, the Pre can handle 20 or so apps being open at the same time with no noticeable performance drain.

are wonderful and unobtrusive.  As we said earlier, the display seamlessly blends into the housing.  When a notification comes through, such as an IM or calendar appointment, the display shrinks and the notification dashboard comes up from the bottom.  It gives enough of a preview and if the user wants to acknowledge it you simply tap, if not you can hide it and be left with just a tiny icon.  Lastly, a simple flick of the finger and the notification disappears all together.  If you want to ignore them they do not intrude on what you are doing, which is fantastic.  Never have notifications been handled so well, though this can be said about much of webOS.

The innovation continues with universal search; according to Palm, “when in doubt, type.”  By simply starting to type webOS will begin to match your input from phone features (like Bluetooth or Updates,) contacts, conversations and if what you want is not on the phone you can go out to the web with Google, Google Maps, Wikipedia or Twitter.  No doubt more services will write themselves into this handy feature.

The OS has all kinds of cool caveats and we could talk about it for days, but in the interest of your time we’ll stop here.  We really can’t overstate how much we love webOS, and how excited we are to see it grow and evolve.  It is still very early in Android’s life, but so far it has not lived up to the hype and the debut was a bit underwhelming, arguably because of the buildup.  Palm has quietly built even more hype however, and they really nailed it.  It’s a wonderful starting point, but even Palm has acknowledged that it is just that and they want developers to help them perfect it.  The SDK will become more widely available; Palm has kept distribution intentionally low to ensure quality early on, and with such an easy device to program for we expect to see even greater things.

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posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55 4

1. AVCOC (Posts: 1; Member since: 12 Jun 2009)

9.9!!!! thats too high,the palm pre is a good phone but not that good to be the highest rated one!

posted on 12 Jun 2009, 19:18

6. legionsreturn (unregistered)

Well what do you expect when phonearena accepts cash for good reviews?

posted on 12 Jun 2009, 20:28

8. secondcor517 (Posts: 94; Member since: 06 Oct 2008)

i was thinking the same thing legion.... how much did they make from this review.

posted on 12 Jun 2009, 21:19 1

10. mr. anderson (Posts: 92; Member since: 16 Apr 2009)

first off, how stupid are you two? secondly, everyone knows sprint doesnt have the money to pay for anything much less reviews! im a vzw user, but have used my friends pre extensively. i assume you guys have not, because the score is well deserved. this is a game changer, plain and simple.

posted on 13 Jun 2009, 08:51

11. legionsreturn (unregistered)

So how much did you charge for that score? Im just curious, it must have cost all of 20 bucks!

posted on 12 Jun 2009, 13:27

2. legionsreturn (unregistered)

Oh come on! Reallly? Are you really that mallible in the face of corporate sponsorship? We already knew objectivity is a joke to you people but youve really outdone yourselves this time. Guess all you have to do to get a good review on phonearena is pay for it.

posted on 12 Jun 2009, 15:13

3. metalpoet (unregistered)

as a representatitve of verizon i must admit that sprint and palm did a really good job with the release of the pre and i truly hope it shuts up the iphone users!

posted on 12 Jun 2009, 16:35

4. Kiltlifter (Posts: 742; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)

I agree... iPhone users are the worst.. has anyone seen the South Park episode where Kyle's dad gets a "hybrid" and then moves to San Francisco and there is a "smug" storm? Everyone I know thinks they are superior and so incredibly hi-tech just because they own it, even though none of them use it for anything more than they would an ipod touch. Let's just hope that Pre users don't fall into the same line of "Smug"... otherwise George Clooney's speech from the Oscars could make a supercell that would wipe out all of what is left of sprint's network... (if you don't get this comment just watch the episode).

posted on 16 Jun 2009, 20:35

28. ser3nitynow (Posts: 1; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)

HAHAHA so true... By the way that episode is hysterical.

posted on 17 Jun 2009, 01:07

30. legionsreturn (unregistered)

Southpark is indeed enjoyable.

posted on 13 Nov 2009, 03:02

44. jpdaballa (Posts: 3; Member since: 13 Nov 2009)

lmao that episode played tonight....

posted on 12 Jun 2009, 17:17

5. LGVX1993 (Posts: 260; Member since: 27 Jan 2009)

Not trying to be an ass but if you average up the scores you get an 8.9. There probably is some different way of calculating the total score though.

posted on 13 Jun 2009, 10:57

13. McMillian (Posts: 29; Member since: 07 Apr 2009)

Phone Arena is ignorant and they don't make any since. they obviously choose favorites when it comes to phones and their OS. Don't get me wrong I think the Pre looks like a great phone but I think Phone Arena completely over hyped the Pre in this review.

posted on 13 Jun 2009, 11:43

14. LGVX1993 (Posts: 260; Member since: 27 Jan 2009)

After about a while theyll be wanting to change some of this stuff. Any phone that ive had I loved for about a month or two and i got tired of it. One more thing, wouldnt the Pre be a little complicated for the Average Joe?

posted on 13 Jun 2009, 15:15

15. legionsreturn (unregistered)

I got a good laugh out of the average joe reccomendation, this was review obviously a foregone conclusion paid for by the corporate interests that birthed this phone.

posted on 15 Jun 2009, 10:20

23. martycota (Posts: 28; Member since: 15 Jun 2009)

Wow, seriously, are you all iphone users bashing the review?! The phone has recieved generally positive reviews from all major reviewers and just because PhoneArena's is super high doesn't mean they were bought off?! Should I say that they were bought off by Apple for giving the Touch Pro a lower score then many sites just because they say that after the diamond it felt old?! And seriously, for average joe, this is probably the best smart phone out there. It offers an easy to use interface and is a smart phone unlike most smart phones that are blackberry or window which offer very little in user friendly handling.!!! Average Joe doesn't always have to be about having the dumbest phone out there, they obviously rated it based on how easy it is to use for a smart phone that offers just about everything, or will offer soon enough!!! Read the reviews before asking Steve Jobs what kind of demeaning comments you can post on the competition's reviews. Yes the iPhone might be a great phone, but it is in no way a smart phone and if you read the review you can see how the phone deserves quite a high rating on its own merits...

posted on 15 Jun 2009, 14:29

25. LGVX1993 (Posts: 260; Member since: 27 Jan 2009)

i dont know about everyone else but im not an iphone user and never have been and probably never will be. As you can probably tell by my name im with Verizon. I read the review from here and other websites and i know this is a good phone. I was just saying that the unweighted average of scores is 8.94 to be exact not 9.9. And also WebOS looks a little too complicated to me so i don't think it would be for the average joe. I also never said that average joe had to have the most basic phone around. I just wouldn't see one with a smart phone.

posted on 15 Jun 2009, 19:51

26. mr. anderson (Posts: 92; Member since: 16 Apr 2009)

if webos is too complicated for you i dont know what to tell you man. have you taken an iq test lately?

posted on 16 Jun 2009, 05:16

27. LGVX1993 (Posts: 260; Member since: 27 Jan 2009)

no but im not stupid ciz i have 5 honors classes in school. The whole gesture bar is a little unnecessary to me.

posted on 29 Jun 2009, 19:04

38. sprntfanboi02 (Posts: 41; Member since: 25 Jun 2009)

i was going to take your post seriously but then you used since instead of sense....really? are you serious?

posted on 12 Jun 2009, 19:19

7. SellPhones82 (Posts: 569; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)

I sold my iPod Touch because it was not longer needed now that I have a Pre. For people that want games iPhone/Touch will always be king IMO. I want something that would replace the need to get on my laptop to do simple things and the Pre does that and then some. The web browser is almost perfect for a v1.0 as well as the media player. WebOS is just incredible...like the review said it is missing some pretty key features at the moment but some Palm has already confirmed they will come in future OTA updates. I think my favorite thing it the way SMS and email notification come through. It is just so well done and I can't imagine not having it now. The hardware build is my biggest concern. I think I will be exchanging mine because the keyboard slider does not slide out like it does on my wifes Pre. Battery life is really the only other issue which is why I picked up the Palm car charger which come with an extra data cable so I can charge at home, work and in the car. I look forward to the SDK being released to the public as well as the software updates from Palm. Once it has Flash support, notification light, video recording and soft keyboard I will be set with my dream phone!

posted on 12 Jun 2009, 20:36

9. bigdog805 (Posts: 20; Member since: 06 Jun 2009)

I agree, this phone is awesome. I wish it already came with the ability to shot video but I guess it isnt that big of a deal since the updates will be OTA. I was really excited Sprint took on a phone that will actually live up to its hype and be competitive in the wireless industry. My main concern though is when Palm is gonna push out its WebOS to other providers. I'm glad its release to AT&T was just delayed. Hopefully for a while!

posted on 13 Jun 2009, 09:39

12. joolian (Posts: 19; Member since: 25 Dec 2008)

Im an iPhone user, and I dont find myself criticising other phones. There are a lot of features on the pre I would love, multi-tasking looks amazing, and the screen looks a lot more impressive then the iPhones. After 3 generations, it's time for apple to update the look and feel of the iPhone software, the screen could use an update as well. If the Pre were offered at Rogers, and had more than 8 GBs, and after expansion of the app catalog, I could see myself buying it.

posted on 13 Jun 2009, 19:27

16. bigdog805 (Posts: 20; Member since: 06 Jun 2009)

Finally a level headed iPhone user! People like you are hard to come by. Almost all iPhone users treat their phones like its their child and get soo defensive if anyone says anything negative about the phone or trys to compare to another phone. But I do agree the iPhone should change the look on it but then again they haven't needed to update it because it sells. But now that they might actually be getting competition they may have to do something more then just update the software.

posted on 13 Jun 2009, 23:12

17. zyxwv88 (Posts: 1; Member since: 13 Jun 2009)

It's funny the rivalry between the Pre and the iPhone. The Pre people consider it to be superior to the iPhone, and the iPhone people think that it's not even close to as good (of course the iPhone people don't want a phone to be better or they lose their perceived superiority over everyone else). Well, I'm a Pre owner, and I used to have iPhone envy until I got my Pre. I still think the iPhone is a good phone, and without it, the Pre probably wouldn't have been as good as it is. That being said, I have always considered myself open minded. I want the best technology, and what the best is tends to change constantly. For those of you complaining that the Pre can't possibly be as good as the iPhone and it can't possibly rate a 9.9, you really need to get one in your hands and really see what it does (with an open mind), and I think you'll agree that it is really that good. Synergy is just pretty amazing. It's never been so easy to combine information from so many sources before. I was blown away by how easily it syncs with Facebook, Google, and Exchange (although it took a little work to get it figured out at first, although I hear they will be working on that one). All of those sources just combine into one place so nicely it's almost like a dream. The few things that there are to complain about can be fixed with updates, so although it does have a few rough edges, I still think this is the most amazing phone I've used. iPhone people might be unhappy that their phone now has a serious contender, but just as the Pre took a lot of great ideas from the iPhone, I'm sure that iPhone will take a lot of great ideas from the Pre, so the Version 4 of iPhone will likely be a much bigger and better update than ever before as they try to compete with Synergy and the multitasking that the Pre offers. iPhone is built on a good OS, and I think they can probably do a lot more with it than they have, but they have been content to sit on their butt and only offer trivial upgrades to the iPhone for the last few years. Pre has topped them (IMO), and now iPhone will have to fight hard to come back on top. Basically it's good for everyone concerned. Competition is a good thing. iPhone sitting on it's butt is exactly what Palm did back in it's heyday that almost put it out of business. Apple brought it on themselves to be one-upped because they didn't keep their edge.

posted on 19 Jun 2009, 11:48

33. cphorn15 (Posts: 6; Member since: 21 Apr 2009)

Well, a 9.9 suggests a nearly perfect phone (ideally anyway), so I'm hesitant to agree with their score (which doesn't jibe with their review) entirely. I think it deserves to be in the 9s but not so high. It's obvious from previous articles that Phone Arena just absolutely has fallen in love with the Pre so it's no surprise that they over-hyped themselves prior to the release and then while holding it in their hands. Remember when we all first over-studied that one exciting thing finding out every single thing we could about it and then when we got it, it was still so exciting? I think that is point and case here with Phone Arena. After a month or two, a new shiny toy that is going to revolutionize the world is going to come into view and they are going to drop their Pre like a hot rock. On top of that, their review sounded very similar to the Touch Pro 2s so I wonder why that is an entire point lower than the Pre... something to think about.

posted on 14 Jun 2009, 01:19

18. pathmarkpolice (Posts: 102; Member since: 05 Feb 2009)

I agree that the review seems as if it's over-hyping the phone, but when I tried out the phone, and then read a whole bunch of reviews (engadgets, gizmodo's, and now phonearena's) I am taking the "cons" of the device into consideration and I personally can't think of anything that really irks me as being a deal-breaker. The mobile OS palm has created is one of, if not the best (takes a steaming dump on the iphone's). THe only thing that bothers me is the lack of a micro sd card slot, but I'm sure other palm devices with the webOS will end up being amazing :-)

posted on 14 Jun 2009, 16:39

19. baldilocks (Posts: 812; Member since: 14 Dec 2008)

Yea, the 9.9 seems like a VERY biased score. I am calling foul on this review.

posted on 18 Aug 2009, 00:33

41. nathandavid13 (Posts: 6; Member since: 22 Jul 2009)

i bet it was just a typing error. It's supposted to 8.9 and they are kinda close on the keyboard

posted on 15 Jun 2009, 01:45

20. ralph_denicia (Posts: 14; Member since: 30 Apr 2009)

I like how it get's a 10 for multimedia and local connectivity; yet it doesn't support WMV format and it doesn't support object/file transfer over bluetooth... I tried to transfer a customer's contacts from his old sanyo over bluetooth and the Pre was unable to receive them! Come on, even a crappy sanyo phone has better bluetooth handling!

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Display3.1 inches, 320 x 480 pixels (186 ppi) TFT
Camera3 megapixels
Single core, ARM Cortex-A8 processor
Size3.96 x 2.34 x 0.67 inches
(100.5 x 59.5 x 16.9 mm)
4.76 oz  (135 g)
Battery1150 mAh, 5 hours talk time

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